A Walk in the Desert (Biomes of North America)

Contributor
Rebecca Johnson and Phyllis Saroff
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Informative Text
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This nonfiction text describes the climate, soil, plants and animals of the North American deserts. It provides detailed information on how plants and animals adapt and survive there.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
- none -
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available for purchase - The right to view, keep, and/or download material upon payment of a one-time fee.

Performance Expectations

3-LS4-3 Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Clarification Statement: Examples of evidence could include needs and characteristics of the organisms and habitats involved. The organisms and their habitat make up a system in which the parts depend on each other.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This book provides clear examples of the features of plants and animals that allow them to survive in the desert environment. In can be used in conjunction with other books in this series (A Walk in the Deciduous Forest, A Walk in the Rain Forest, A Walk in the Prairie, A Walk in the Tundra, A Walk in the Boreal Forest, A Journey in the Ocean, A Journey in the Estuary) to compare and contrast the adaptations of plants and animals in different habitats. What are the common needs and features of plants/animals? Why do they look different in various environments? How are these environments different/alike? How do these adaptations help the organisms survive? What would happen to the organisms if the habitat changed? Different books/biomes could be assigned to different groups of students--each group becoming experts on that biome. In mixed groups, they could then share information about the features of different biomes and the corresponding adaptations that allow plants/animals to survive there. To synthesize the information, the teacher could facilitate a science talk. Focus question: How do the features (physical and behavioral) of organisms allow them to survive in certain environments? What do you think would happen if the environment changes? A class chart can be created comparing the geography, climate, plants, plant adaptations, animals, and animal adaptions of all the habitats. Alternatively, a large map could be used to identify the different habitats. Illustrations or photos of plants and animals that live in different habitats could be attached to the map for comparison purposes. Connections to Social Studies can also be made, connecting to their study of habitats and biomes/geography. Students can identify where the specific biomes are found in the world and discuss how the climate, weather and physical features affect the features and survival of the living things found there. How does the physical environment affect the physical features of the living things?

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This book provides clear examples of the features of plants and animals that allow them to survive in the desert environment. Different books/biomes could be assigned to different groups of students--each group becoming experts on that biome. Each group could create a chart describing the characteristics of their habitat, features of plants and animals that live there, along with their thinking about how those features allow the living things to survive in the habitat. In mixed groups, students could then share information about the features of different biomes and the corresponding adaptations that allow plants/animals to survive there. A class chart showing information on all the habitats could be created to compare and contrast the different environments. This series of books is a high reading level for 3rd grade. However, the teacher could pull out specific pages for students to read (instead of reading the entire book) or share the book as an interactive read aloud. There are many text features (such as the photos and information boxes) that will appeal to readers of all levels. This series can be used as part of a text set, which includes books at lower reading levels, such as the Introducing Habitats series by Bobbie Kalman.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This book describes how the adaptations of organisms in deserts allow them to survive.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This book provides clear examples of the features of plants and animals that allow them to survive in the desert environment. The structure of the features helps the organisms survive in the desert. The teacher can explain the concept of structure and function and ask students to chart features of different plants and animals, identifying their structure and function and providing reasoning on how the structure helps the organisms survive in this environment.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This book provides clear examples of the features of plants and animals that allow them to survive in the desert environment and is closely aligned to the disciplinary core idea.

  • Instructional Supports: This book provides clear examples of the features of plants and animals that allow them to survive in the desert environment. However, it will be up to the teacher to provide instructional supports. The vocabulary in the back of the book can also be posted on a word wall in the classroom to support all learners. Illustrations could even be included as well.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: No assessment materials are provided. The teacher could assess student understanding by asking them to construct explanations based on their learning (either in written form or orally). For example, students could be asked to provide evidence to support the claim: "Animals have certain structures and behaviors to help them survive and reproduce in the places they live. My evidence is ______."

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -